A Saturday night fire destroyed a Halifax County garage at 1133 Newton Farm Road filled with antique cars and other equipment.
“Everything is gone,” said homeowner Raymond Butler. “Fifty-five years shot.”
Chris Hudson, chief of the Cluster Springs Volunteer Fire Department, deemed the garage and its contents a “total loss,” estimating $800,000 in damage from the fire. He said a lightning strike was determined to be the cause of the fire.
“We had extreme lightning and thunderstorms last night. Lightning was coming down and splintering off. We think lightning struck the center of the shop,” Butler further explained. “I went out there and the top of the shop was completely engulfed with flames.”
At that point, Butler said he knew it was too dangerous to enter the garage and try to save his and his wife Terry’s numerous antique cars, bicycles, golf carts and other collectibles.
The Cluster Springs Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene at 11:30 p.m. with three trucks and remained on the scene until 5 a.m. Hudson said heavy flames and smoke were showing when he arrived on scene.
Assisting Cluster Springs were the South Boston Fire Department, responding with two trucks, the Virgilina Volunteer Fire Department, responding with one truck, the Clover Volunteer Fire Department, responding with one truck, the Scottsburg Volunteer Fire Department, responding with one truck, the Triple Springs Volunteer Fire Department of Person County, North Carolina, responding with one truck, the Clarksville Fire Department, responding with three trucks, the Turbeville Volunteer Fire Department, responding with two trucks, the Midway Volunteer Fire Department, responding with two trucks, the Liberty Volunteer Fire Department, responding with one truck, and the North Halifax Volunteer Fire Department, responding with manpower. Hudson said the firefighters used 50,000 gallons of water to extinguish the flames.
“We had good support from the fire departments,” Butler commented.
Two propane tanks adjacent to the house proposed a hazard due to the fire, and at one point, the area had to be evacuated. A technician from Southern States working on the propane tanks was injured and had to be transported to a medical facility for treatment, Butler said.
A long list of antique cars and other vehicles were burned in the fire. The vehicles include a 1958 Chevrolet pickup truck bought brand new the year it debuted, a 1952 Studebaker and Chevrolet pickup truck, and a 1969 Camaro and 1997 Camaro, all belonging to his wife Terry, a 1955 Chevrolet two-door Sedan, a 1956 Chevrolet sedan, a 1956 Sedan Delivery, a 1966 El Camino, a 1966 Biscayne Sleeper, a 1970 Chevrolet C-10 pickup truck, a 1971 first-year Superline Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a 2005 limited edition SSR Chevrolet truck, Butler shared.
At this point, Butler said he would not try to replace all of the cars that were burned in the fire, and some of the items had sentimental value and are irreplaceable. Despite sustaining such a major loss, Butler had a positive attitude the day after the fire, citing his faith as the source of his optimistic outlook.
“God has blessed us in the past and it’s His will. He’s got a plan for us involved in this somehow,” Butler said.